Douglas proposes $20,000 fine for illegal vacation rentals

Douglas County Commission Chairman John Engels

Douglas County Commission Chairman John Engels Douglas County

 

A $20,000 fine and permanent ban could eventually await those operating vacation home rentals in Douglas County without a permit.

The proposed fine is just one of around 50 different policy decisions Douglas County commissioners made on Thursday.

Falsifying a permit could also result in a criminal penalty with a $20,000 fine.

County commissioners worked into the night to go through a list of recommendations first presented in October.

“I would like to thank my fellow commissioners for their time and dedication to reviewing the information presented by County staff and the Task Force,” said Commission Chairman Jon Engels. “My hope is that these policy decisions are a starting point down a path to provide what’s best for the community while enacting the essential enforcement necessary for the establishment of a sustainable VHR program in Douglas County.”

Commissioners implemented a moratorium on additional vacation permits while county staff works on resolutions and ordinances to implement the recommendations.

They accepted most of the recommendations by the VHR Task Force, composed of 15 Douglas County residents.

Commissioners have been considering changes to the program since 2017, with the current ordinance in place since 2018. Since then, the county has conducted extensive outreach, including public workshops and surveys, and the formation of the task force.

“This was a big night for Douglas County,” said County Manager Patrick Cates. “The Task Force conducted exhaustive research and healthy debate for over a year to derive their recommendations. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the citizens who participated in that massive undertaking for all their hard work. I also thank the Commissioners for their diligent work on this complicated and contentious issue. We now have clear direction and can begin moving forward with these new regulations.”

Any ordinance implementing one of the recommendations would require two readings before the commission and a 35-day waiting period.

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